There are major projects in various stages of development on U.S. 1 in Tequesta, just north of Jupiter. One of those projects, The Reserve at Tequesta, would put nearly 70 townhomes on the west side of the road near County Line Road.
Even after the Florida Department of Transportation finished redesigning a 1.4-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 1, more changes are on the way for the village’s main commercial thoroughfare.
At least three real estate projects — one residential, another commercial and a third defined as mixed-use — are in various stages of development along the U.S. 1 corridor.
Once complete, a four-floor office building between Harbor Road South and Palm Court, will house roughly 15,000 square feet. Further north, other developers have pinpointed 691 U.S. 1 as the right spot for 12 housing units and 4,900 square feet of office space known as Pelican Square. And just south of County Line Road, The Reserve at Tequesta project would put 69 townhomes on 6 acres of land that was previously a used car lot at 734 and 746 U.S. 1.
The office building is under construction. Village Council members have approved Pelican Square’s site plan and have yet to do so for The Reserve, though its developers secured zoning and future land use amendments from the council last month.
There’s not much space left for Tequesta to grow, village Mayor Abby Brennan said, so the projects are increasingly rare opportunities to develop vacant lots.
“These three projects are filling in what was available on U.S. 1. … This would complete the corridor.” Brennan said.
She highlighted the demand for more housing in the village, something that local real estate broker Rebel Cook also sees.
“There’s literally no more land to build on,” Cook said. “The homes that are there … they’re not going to tear those homes down and put any massive developments in there.”
Pelican Square and The Reserve “bring much-needed space for family living,” Brennan said. She and Cook both noted the village’s population is becoming younger, which U.S. Census Bureau numbers also indicate.
Stephen Cohen, secretary for Reserve landowner Royal Tequesta LLC, said he envisions a diverse group of residents living in his company’s townhomes. Royal Tequesta is managed by the Capano family of developers who operate in Delaware and Florida, he said.
Units at The Reserve are expected to start in the upper $500,000 range, Cohen said. He hopes to secure the council’s site plan approval by year’s end before starting an 18-24-month construction process.
Rob Steiner, part of a four-person development team on the Pelican Square project, said he and his colleagues are still determining whether to rent or sell their housing units.
They hope to begin construction next year and finish building no more than 12 months later, Steiner said.
U.S. 1 is a happening corridor, he said. Steiner added that the recent, and locally controversial, FDOT project to reduce the street from six lanes to four has improved the area further.
“I love that idea,” said Steiner, a Tequesta resident. “I’ve seen more cyclists out, more walkers, runners. So we wanted to tie in with that so people could walk to Publix down the street or restaurants down the road.”
Cook said the only hurdle to U.S. 1′s momentum is FDOT’s planned project to replace the U.S. 1 bridge over the Loxahatchee River, expected to start in 2021. During construction, traffic may be detoured onto the Alternate A1A bridge for more than 18 months.
“There is a perception that the bridge (construction) will hurt some people on U.S. 1,” she said.
Cohen sees the local real estate market as primed with demand.
“The Jupiter-Tequesta area is highly sought-after,” Cohen said. “It’s a great, great area. A lot of attractions. A lot of things to do. It’s a little bit more spacious, not so urban in nature.”
The offices planned for Pelican Square and the four-story building a couple blocks south also fill a need in the village, Cook said.
“You’re going to have more demand for the office use (in the future),” she said.
The village’s small-town vibe is attractive to many seeking to move to the area, Cook said, and she doesn’t think that’s going anywhere — even with the changes planned for U.S. 1.
“I don’t see the character of Tequesta changing dramatically,” Cook said. “Just because they’re landlocked. There’s water on the east and on the west there’s nowhere to go.”